Paumanok_07francBy Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

For me, vintage variation is one of the real joys of cool climate, and of course New York, wines. Being able to taste the differences in weather from year to year has capture and kept my attention.

I've also come to better understand that certain growing seasons aren't necessarily better or worse than others. They are just different. The resulting wines and how they evolve in the bottle is different too.

Many of the 2007 Long Island reds available in tasting rooms today simply need more time in bottle. They just do. That's not to say most aren't approachable today. Many are but, in an ideal world — one where banks don't expect you to have money in your account to cover the checks you're writing — many 2007 red would probably still be resting comfortably in a climate-controlled storage facility somewhere, resting and waiting to reveal their complexities and nuance. Cashflow wins out in many cases, however.

This Paumanok Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc ($24), while delicious today, is definitely a wine that will benefit from at least short-term cellaring — maybe 1-5 years.

Intensely colored, this smooth, balanced red offers aromas of plum, black cherry, sweet spice, cocoa bean and coffee. The tradehmark herbal aromas of the variety are subdued on the palate, but there — especially on days two and three open.

The medium-bodied, velvety palate brings more varietal character — layers of earthiness, black pepper and herbs — sprinkles over primary flavors of black plum, fig and black cherry. Some of the cocoa bean character from the nose is here, but it's less obvious. The finish is medium-long with brighter red cherry notes and distinct herbal qualities.

With ripe, well-integrated tannins the moutfeel is elegant and polished — almost too polished for a cabernet franc fanatic like me. In the end though, it's the balance and the budding complexity that wins out. And, at $24, it's a good value from the vintage.

Producer: Paumanok Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
pH: 3.66
TA: 6.7 g/l
ABV: 13%
Case Production: 870
Price: $24*
Rating: 89

(*Ratings Guide)